How Strong Actually Is A 3D Printed Part?

  01/23/2017


In search for original and fun ways to do 'real world tests' of the latest 3d printing materials on offer, Clone 3D Print and 3D Printing Systems decided to draw on past experience and contacts in the marine industry to perform an unscientific but intriguing look at not only the strength of a printed part but the process in which 3D printed parts are created.

They decided to team up and put together a somewhat educational video (and to see for themselves) what are the potentials and limits of different 3d printing materials. The material selection was ABS, Wood, Polycarbonate and Carbon Fibre. When they first started out in search of good materials for a replacement boat propeller, wood was never originally going to be included, it was more for a laugh than anything else. Com'on really, a wooden boat propeller!

Bruce from 3DPrintingSystems.com 3d scanned an aluminium boat prop from a 15HP Yamaha outboard motor using the EinScan-S, also known as ScanMaster Plus in Australia.The resulting scan was exceptional, in the video you'll see it even captured the serial number etched into the original prop.

The scanner was not able to view the internal core/spline of the propeller so Sarah of Idea Beans modelled this in her CAD software, the scan and the core were then merged together to form a solid digital prop ready for 3D printing.

Hayden from Clone3D.co.nz sourced the afore mentioned materials and printed the propellers with a solid fill at 0.25mm layer height. Clone 3D Print provides a printing service in New Zealand, director Hayden Bennett with 20 years past experience in the marine industry also designs and sells a range of 3D printed products for marine purpose.

Bruce and Hayden did a bunch of bench testing with the different props as you can see in the video with some surprising results. The propellers that made it through testing in one piece were then taken to the sea, Half Moon Bay Marina, Auckland NZ, the 15hp motor was bolted to a 12ft inflatable and each propeller/material was given its chance to shine.

The video is a worth while watch, it provides a unique insight into the different materials and the performance of them, it's just that little bit more intelligent than a printed part vs hammer, and while it is not the first time a wooden boat propeller has been used it is certainly the first time a 3D printed boat propeller has been scanned, printed, tested and proven to work! Original YouTube Description
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